Wednesday, January 13, 2016

You look French today

Ashen hazelnut hair and matching eyes
I walk with a gait that is not mine
but one I haven't even borrowed from anyone
it is loose enough for my footsteps

bag to the left shoulder, clenched-
a beret covers half my head
hair falling to the sides like cotton
from the sky

push plush boots out into the rain
that doesn't melt over my head
or the skirt that covers enough to show
things I am not comfortable revealing

I have been called so many names that are not mine,
mami,  ya helu, pizza-face, cuban hips
all the names that tell
of the countries I have never lived

all the lives lapsed into a nutshell based on my face
the way I ate fromage, twist my Rs in French
there would not be a way to maintain one
solid life that is completely mine

do not judge, we say
do not  allow yourself the opportunity of the doubt
we stress over and over again, yet I have been told I look
a nationality or the other and today it was French

No one told me I look Arab, at any given point
because there are no desert camels behind my eyes, no olive skin
nothing too eager with the zest of the furious mares
in the way I hold up my hair to the sunshine

but there is something ever present, seas, foreign waters
there's a lot of wind whitening my face, a lot of spaghetti genes
I guess what I am and what I become is and will always be
two different things to the public eye.

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